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 You are in: Under Secretary for Political Affairs > Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs > Near Eastern Affairs: Countries and Other Areas > Jordan > Reports/Documents > 2006

International Narcotics Control Strategy Report

International Narcotics Control Strategy Report   -2006
Released by the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
March 2006

Jordan -- Volume I: Drug and Chemical Control

I. Summary

Jordanís geographical location between drug producing countries to the north and drug consuming countries to the south and west, makes it a transit country for illicit drugs. Historically, Jordanians do not consume significant quantities of illicit drugs, and according to the public security officials there are no known production operations in the Kingdom. Statistically speaking, however, drug use continues to grow in Jordan. According to statistics for the first 11 months of 2005, total drug seizures for the year will be slightly below, or close to 2004 seizures, excluding Captagon seizures (fenethylline), a synthetic amphetamine-type stimulant. There was an increase in reported drug-related cases and subsequent arrests. The drugs of choice among users arrested for drug possession in Jordan continue to be cannabis and heroin, and people arrested for drug-related crimes fall predominantly between the ages of 18 and 35 years old. Additionally, drug movement coming from Iraq has picked up seven-fold. Cooperation among neighboring countries in combating the drug trade is ongoing. Jordan is a party to the 1998 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

There are currently no indications that Jordan will move from a predominantly drug transit country to a drug producing country. Statistics produced by the Public Security Directorate/Anti-Narcotics Department (PSD) appear to confirm this assessment. Jordanís vast desert borders make it vulnerable to illicit drug smuggling operations. Jordanian authorities do not believe that internal drug distribution is a profit-making venture.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2005

Policy Initiatives. Due to sustained usage of hashish and heroin among people predominantly between the ages of 18 and 35, Jordan continues its drug awareness campaign focused at educating young people of the dangers of drug use. Authorities continue to provide educational presentations in schools and universities throughout the country. Jordan also publishes a number of brochures and other materials aimed at educating Jordanís youth. Cartoons aimed at younger children designed to dissuade youngsters from trying drugs have also been developed and broadcast this year. In July 2005, DEA sponsored a one-week Asset Forfeiture and Financial Investigations Seminar in Amman, which was presented to Jordanian law enforcement, financial institutions, and other attendees.

Law Enforcement. Jordanís PSD maintains an active counternarcotics bureau, and it maintains excellent relations with the U.S. DEA, Nicosia Country Office based in Cyprus. In 2004, PSD began utilizing x-ray equipment on larger vehicles at its major border crossings between Syria and Iraq, which netted numerous drug seizures in 2005. PSD stated that since 1997 it has worked cooperatively with the military on the Syrian and Iraqi borders to intercept traffickers entering through those areas. Seizures of Captagon tablets are up about 11 percent from last yearís statistics, but PSD claims not to have observed any wide-spread use of the drug in Jordan. PSD reports that 80 percent of all seized illicit drugs coming into Jordan are bound for export to other countries in the region. Jordanís general drug traffic trend continues to include cannabis entering from Lebanon, heroin from Turkey entering through Syria on its way to Israel, and Captagon tablets from Bulgaria entering through Syria on the way to the Gulf. The majority of Jordanís drug seizures take place at the Jaber border crossing point between Jordan and Syria, although seizures from Iraq have risen significantly compared to last year. Since the removal of Saddam Hussein, PSD has observed an increasing trend of trafficking hashish and opium from Afghanistan through Iraq and into Jordan. So far in 2005, there have been 28 seizures at the Iraq border resulting in the arrest of 24 people, up from a total of 4 cases in 2004.

Corruption. As a matter of government policy, Jordan neither encourages nor facilitates the illicit production or distribution of drugs or substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. There is currently no evidence to suggest that senior level officials are involved in narcotics trafficking.

Agreements and Treaties. Jordan is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol. Jordan is a party to the UN Convention against Corruption, and has signed, but has not yet ratified, the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. Jordan continues to remain committed to existing bilateral agreements providing for counternarcotics cooperation with Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, Pakistan, Israel, Iran, and Hungary.

Cultivation and Production. Existing laws prohibit the cultivation and production of narcotics in Jordan. These laws have been effectively enforced.

Drug Flow and Transit. Jordan remains primarily a narcotics transit country. Jordanís main challenge in stemming the flow of illicit drugs through the country remains its vast and open desert borders. While law enforcement contacts confirm continued cooperation with Jordanís neighbors, the desolate border regions and the various tribes, with centuries-old traditions of smuggling as a principle source of income, make interdiction difficult. None of the narcotics transiting Jordan are believed to be destined for the United States.

Domestic Programs. Jordan maintains a robust program of awareness, education, and rehabilitation. Education programs target high school and college-aged kids. Authorities continue to provide educational presentations in schools and universities throughout the country. According to a representative of the local UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), since 2001 the Jordanian government, in conjunction with the UNODC, has strengthened treatment and rehabilitation services for drug abusers in Jordan. Most notably, a national treatment and rehabilitation strategy and coordination mechanism has been put in place; the Police Treatment Center has been upgraded to provide and facilitate treatment and rehabilitation services to drug abusers referred by the court; and the five primary health centers in Jordan are now able to provide outreach services for early intervention and counseling. In August 2005, the Jordanian Drug Information Network (JorDIN) was officially established. This new UNODC initiative was implemented with the view to support the development of a comprehensive drug use monitoring system covering drug abuse indicators in Jordan, composed of the Ministries of Health and Education, the University of Jordan, and other organizations. In the future, JorDIN will enable the GOJ to better quantify rates of success for rehabilitation and treatment of drug users. The UNODC representative further stated that with each year, Jordan has made real progress in drug abuse treatments.

There are currently three locations at which people in Jordan can receive treatment and rehabilitation services: the National Center for the Rehabilitation of Addicts operated by the Ministry of Health; the Police Treatment Center operated by the PSDís Anti-Narcotics Department, and a private treatment facility operated by Al-Rashid Hospital in Amman.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Policy Initiatives. In July 2005, DEA sponsored a one-week Asset Forfeiture and Financial Investigations Seminar in Amman.

The Road Ahead. U.S. Officials expect continued cooperation with Jordanian officials in counternarcotics related issues.

Volume II: Money Laundering and Financial Crimes

Jordan is not a regional or offshore financial center and is not considered a major venue for international criminal activity. The banking and financial sectors, including moneychangers, are supervised by competent authorities according to international standards. The Central Bank of Jordan, which regulates foreign exchange transactions, issued anti-money laundering regulations designed to meet the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Forty Recommendations on Money Laundering in August 2001. Under Jordanian law, money laundering is considered an "unlawful activity" subject to criminal prosecution.

An October 8, 2001 revision to the Penal Code criminalized terrorist activities, specifically including financing of terrorist organizations. Jordan reports that it has checked for assets of the suspected terrorists and terrorist organizations listed on the UNSCR 1267 Sanctions Committeeís consolidated list, although no such assets have been identified to date. In December 2004, the United States and Jordan signed an Agreement regarding Mutual Assistance between their Customs Administrations that provides for mutual assistance with respect to customs offenses and the sharing and disposition of forfeited assets.

Jordan has yet to enact a comprehensive anti-money laundering law (AML). Although Jordanís cabinet has approved the draft law, the Parliament has yet to endorse it. There is hope that Parliament will pass the law during the 2005-06 winter session. Currently, the Central Bankís suspicious transaction follow-up unit acts as a financial intelligence unit (FIU). However, the FIUís authority is only based on a regulatory (instead of legislative) foundation until an AML is passed.

Jordanian officials report that financial institutions file suspicious transactions reports and cooperate with prosecutorsí requests for information related to narcotics trafficking and terrorism cases. The Central Bank of Jordan has instructed financial institutions to be particularly careful when handling foreign currency transactions, especially if the amounts involved are large or if the source of funds is in question. The Banking Law of 2000 (as amended in 2003) allows judges to waive banking secrecy provisions in any number of criminal cases, including suspected money laundering and terrorism financing.

Jordan is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention and the UN International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism. Jordan has signed, but not ratified, the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. Jordan is a charter member of the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force (MENAFATF) that was inaugurated in Bahrain in November 2004. The MENAFATF is a FATF-style regional body. The creation of the MENAFATF is critical for pushing the region to improve the transparency and regulatory frameworks of its financial sectors.

Jordan should enact a comprehensive anti-money laundering law. It should ratify the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. Jordanian law enforcement and customs should examine forms of trade-based money laundering.


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